Blazers Drop Another One through Last Second Field Goal

| September 28, 2014

D71_0586 392FLORENCE, AL – Taylor Pontius’ 54 yard field goal as time expired propelled No. 5 North Alabama to a 31-29 victory over No. 21 Valdosta State in Gulf South Conference football action at Braly Stadium Saturday evening.

With the win, UNA improved to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in GSC play while Valdosta State fell to 2-2 and 0-2 in league action.

North Alabama got on the board first as it scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns. The first Lion score was set up following a sack that backed VSU up to its own two yard line. On third down, Kaleb Nobles fumbled and UNA recovered on the VSU one, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Luke Wingo on the next play.

After punts by both team, UNA again found the end zone on its third possession as it marched 82 yards on nine plays. Lamonte Thompson capped the drive off with a one-yard plunge that put the Lions in front 14-0 with 6:18 to go in the first quarter.

The Blazers finally got on the board in the second quarter as, after North Alabama intercepted a VSU pass in the end zone, but saw the returner tackled on the UNA one yard line, Tevin Davis and Cooper Lemonds sacked Lion quarterback Trey Wingo in the end zone for a safety.

PontiusVSU592On the ensuing drive, Valdosta State marched 75 yards on 10 plays before scoring on a three-yard touchdown run by Cedric O’Neal that cut the Blazer deficit to 14-9 with 5:29 to go in the first quarter.

After forcing a North Alabama punt on the first drive of the second half, Valdosta State took the lead for the first time in the game on the ensuing drive as O’Neal scored his second touchdown of the game. The Blazers did much of their damage on the drive on the ground as 44 yards came on runs by Medlock and O’Neal, who scored on an 11-yard run that put VSU in front 16-14.

Anthony Pistelli added a 29-yard field goal just before the end of the quarter to push the Blazer lead to 19-16 to set up a wild fourth quarter that saw UNA score three times and VSU twice.

Jacob Tucker put the Lions back in front with a two-yard touchdown run just over a minute into the fourth quarter before VSU came back to tie the game on a 21-yard field goal by Pistelli.

Lamonte Thompson followed with a five yard touchdown run for UNA with 5:28 to play while Austin Scott scored on a 28-yard run with 2:02 to go.

UNA moved the ball down the field on the closing drive and moved to the VSU 23 before Wingo threw a pass to one of his offensive lineman to avoid a sack. The illegal touching penalty on the play backed the ball up to the VSU 33 and a sack followed to put the ball on the VSU 37 with 4.4 seconds remaining. Following a Lion timeout, Pontius, who had missed the extra point attempt on the Thompson touchdown, kicked the ball right down the middle for the longest field goal in North Alabama history.

Medlock finished the day with 172 passing yards as he completed 19-of-25 passes. He also gained 57 yards on the ground while O’Neal finished with 115 yards rushing for his 10th career 100-yard game. Meanwhile, Shane Henderson caught nine passes for 132 yards. Duran Lowe and Sharmaine Washington each finished with 11 tackles to lead VSU defensively.

The Blazers tallied 434 yards of total offense as it threw for 190 and ran for 244.

North Alabama tallied 397 yards of total offense behind 217 passing yards from Wingo. Thompson ran for 140 yards while Ixavier Triplett tallied 10 tackles.

Valdosta State takes next weekend off before returning home to Bazemore-Hyder Stadium on Saturday, October 11 when it hosts West Georgia in Gulf South Conference action. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m.

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